Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko says that Pierre Gasly will not act as a number two driver to Max Verstappen. The Frenchman was promoted following an unexpected decision from Daniel Ricciardo to leave for Renault.
Gasly admits that it will take him time to get up to speed in a front running car and challenge Verstappen, who has been at the team since 2016. Red Bull never imposed number one and two status' when Verstappen partnered Ricciardo, as they were able to fight on multiple occasions.
And Marko says that the energy drink squad will keep the same mindset with its new pairing in 2019: "He is not a number two driver,” Marko stated to Auto Bild. “That is off limits at Red Bull.
“Max took the next step last season and Daniel Ricciardo noticed that. But Max will give Gasly the time he needs, so my guess is that he’ll be closer to Max in qualifying. That is normal for a debutant in a top team. ”
Gasly admitted that he is excited by the prospect of going up against five-time Grand Prix winner Verstappen, saying that competing alongside him will benefit his own development.
"For sure I will probably need some time to get comfortable with the team, to get used with the car, with the people, the way of working," Gasly said to Autosport. Coming from Toro Rosso to Red Bull is, as I say, different targets, different culture also, a more English culture in Red Bull.
"So this is the kind of things that take a bit of time, but for sure Max is one of the fastest guys at the moment in the paddock and for me I'm super excited to go alongside him because that's how you also raise your game.
"So I find it a really exciting time for myself and I'm really looking forward to starting, and we will see how I perform straight away. But for sure I will get better through the season and that's fair to say."